European Western Balkans

Regional Housing Programme continues to assist refugees and displaced persons

SARAJEVO – The Regional Housing Programme for Refugees and Displaced Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia organised a series of meetings and events in BiH on 28 and 29 June 2016 with aim to review its implementation efforts.

At the International donor conference held four years ago in Sarajevo, the EU has allocated EUR 230 million for this programme, and significant funds were provided by the governments of the United States, Italy, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Turkey and other donor countries.

Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark welcomed the efforts and commitment of all the parties of the Regional Housing Programme and said that a lot of work has been done, but the work is not finished. “Significant challenges remain to be addressed, including selection of beneficiaries, providing durable housing solutions, as well as lack of economic opportunity as one of the biggest obstacles for sustainable return,” Ambassador Wigemark said.

For a leading institution of the State Housing Project, Bosnia and Herzegovina has nominated BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, while the implementation of sub-projects is entrusted to the FBiH Ministry of Displaced Persons and Refugees, RS Ministry for Refugees and Displaced Persons and the Government of Brcko District BiH.

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The BiH Minister for Human Rights and Refugees, Semiha Borovac pointed out that around 1,800 housing units will be built in this and following year as well as that BiH plans to continue with re/construction of housing units until the works on planned 5,400 new housing units is completed. “It is important to note that the Regional Housing Programme does not only benefit the displaced population but through the cooperation among partner countries it also helps to reinforce good neighbourly relations, contributing to reconciliation and greater stability in the region”, Minister Borovac concluded.

Representatives of Croatia and Serbia commended the donors, in particular the European Union for still being considerate toward the refugees and displaced persons in the region despite bearing with a huge inflow of refugees in its Member States.

Within the two-day activities in BiH, the Regional Housing Programme held Assembly of Donors and Steering Committee meetings, as well as field visit to Novo Gorazde to handover keys of the re/built houses to six returnee families.

The Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees hosted and organised all activities in cooperation with the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the EU Delegation to BiH.

The meetings and events were attended by representatives of the partner countries, entity ministries for refugees and displaced persons, donors, UNHCR and OSCE.

More info about the Programme: http://www.regionalhousingprogramme.org/

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